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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
200-year-old golf book for sale
Bonhams staff with The Goff
The book has generated great excitement at Bonhams
A 200-year-old Scottish book about golf is expected to fetch more than 15,000 at auction.

'The Goff' (old Scots spelling) is thought to be one of the first books to introduce and describe the game.

The 32-page book, in an unbound pamphlet, is a third edition printed in 1793.

It is expected to attract great interest when it goes under the hammer at Bonham's Edinburgh auction house on Friday.

The Goff
The Goff is more than 200-years-old
The book uses a satirical form of a Greek epic poem, describing the game between two protagonists on the city's Leith Links and including real local figures of the day.

Presided over by the goddess Golfina, the poem describes how the gods interfere in the game to assist their favoured player.

Cooper Hay, a book consultant with Bonhams which is auctioning the book on behalf of a private seller, said it would attract bids from individuals and golf museums.

"It's very rare and in good condition and it is extremely difficult to judge what it's likely to fetch, but by all accounts it may get considerably more than our estimation of between 10,000 to 15,000," he said.

"The publisher Peter Hill generally printed in the hundreds rather than thousands, and we just don't know how many copies of this book there might have been originally.

'Society of Gentlemen'

"But The Goff is a cornerstone item in the golf collecting field and we expect a lot of interest from many big collectors."

The book, written in 1743 by legal clerk Thomas Mathison, includes notes about the real life golfers mentioned.

Mr Hay added: "They were mainly legal figures, lawyers and law lords, who created a society of gentlemen golfers, adopting the title Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which was eventually involved in building Muirfield, which recently hosted The Open Championship.

"The book originally belonged to the law lord Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, who would have known some of the people in the poem."

See also:

20 Aug 01 | Scotland
28 May 01 | Scotland
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